Quick Guide to Dubai’s obstacle races

from Tough Mudder to XDubai Spartan, here are Dubai’s toughest challenges

1 Desert Warrior Challenge

This home-grown obstacle race is returning for a fourth consecutive year this month. Taking place in Dubai Land on Friday October 20, Desert Warrior promises to “push boundaries, test limits and challenge even the most prepared warriors”.

There are three races on the day with the 5km Fearless Warrior (comprising 12 obstacles) being the ideal stepping stone for “warriors in training”.

If you think you’re tough enough, enter the Ultimate Warrior – the main event, where you’ll have to tackle 20 obstacles.

Plus, if you’ve got sporty kids who are clamouring to get involved in something muddy and fun, there are 1k and 2km Junior Warrior races, too, for children aged six to nine and ten to 15 respectively, dubbed “Warriors of the Future”.

And with obstacles named The Monster, The Beast, Brain Freeze and Claustrophobia (you get the gist) you’ll need to be pretty tough to give it a go.

This year, the 10km race will be an official qualifying event for the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Championships 2018, so you have the chance to win a place to compete against the world’s best.

Troy Gillham, of Desert Warrior Challenge, tells Time Out Dubai, that plenty of time is spent planning the obstacles for the race.

“There are many ideas thrown around the room on what’s the next best way to challenge our Warriors and how to ensure we are innovative and deliver an exciting course,” he says. “Our goal is to not only test the Warriors physically, but also mentally. We want them to feel an adrenaline rush, a sense of anxiety and moments of doubt, so that when they conquer the obstacles they have a rush of elation and self-pride when they overcome the challenge of Desert Warrior.”

This one is next week, so get in there quickly, before you miss out.
From $107 (Dhs393). Fri Oct 20, 7.30am-4pm. Dubai Land, www.desertwarriorchallenge.com/registration.

2 du Tough Mudder

Residents of Dubai, are you ready to take on one of the most gruelling endurance challenges in the world?

The Tough Mudder is undoubtedly the most famous of the three races we highlight here, with versions taking place all around the globe. Founded in 2010 in the US as a military-style obstacle course race, Tough Mudder has quickly grown in popularity, with more than 2.5 million people worldwide tackling the daunting event since its launch.

The event is making itself at home in Dubai as the second annual du Tough Mudder will be taking place this December (Friday 8 to Saturday 9).

Dubbed the ultimate obstacle course for amateur athletes, the du Tough Mudder made a huge, mucky splash for its Dubai debut last year, and its 2017 return is sure to thrill fitness fans in the city.

There are full and half versions of the race (spanning either 16km or 8km), which takes place at Hamdan Sports Complex.

Last year more than 5,000 brave athletes took part and numbers this year are expected to be even higher.

Dubai entrants will be wading through 500,000 gallons of mud (yes, even in the desert), plunging into ice baths and tackling other brutal obstacles in the course (think barbed wire, cargo nets, slippery slopes et al)Plus there’s a sprint through 10,000 volts of electricity, which is just as tough as it sounds.

“Tough Mudder is designed to test physical strength, stamina and mental grit, and it does,” says Time Out Dubai art editor, Emily Evans, who competed the 8km version last year. “The teamwork involved is incredible – you’re pulled, pushed and lifted to the top of pyramids and through swamps, and then it’s your turn to help.”

There are no cash prizes for finishing, but we’re sure you’ll feel a priceless pride.
From Dhs295. Dec 8-9. Hamdan Sports Complex, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, www.toughmudder.ae.

3 XDubai Spartan Race
Barbed wire, fire, swamps. The XDubai Spartan isn’t your average 10km park run.

Another of the toughest obstacle races in Dubai, the Spartan takes place at Hatta Mountain Bike Trail (providing some pretty tough terrain) on Friday November 10. And did we mention there’s a total prize pot of US$50,000 (Dhs183,650) up for grabs?

There are three categories, Spartan Super, Spartan Sprint and Spartan Beast, plus, for the first time ever, the Spartan Middle East Championship. This mighty race is open only to qualifiers, who will be invited to enter to claim the title of regional champion.

The Sprint is the shortest race at 5km (don’t get too confident, there are still 20 obstacles to tackle in that distance). However, it’s “perfect for athletes of all levels”, say the organisers, who add, “If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong.”

The Spartan Super is a longer course to “test your endurance, perseverance and grit”. It’s 13km with 25 obstacles. The terrain is tougher and more rugged, too.

Finally there’s the Spartan Beast (gulp). A gruelling 20km and a whopping 35 obstacles await these brave athletes. “It won’t be easy,” warn organisers (no surprises there).

The Beast Championship is only for qualifiers, but anyone can register for the open Beast heat, and the elite and open Sprint heats.
From US$99 (Dhs364) for the open pprint up to US$195 (Dhs717) for the Championship Beast. Fri Nov 10. Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Centre, www.spartanarabia.com.

In numbers

Fast facts for speedy competitors

The number of millions of hardy people who have taken part in Tough Mudder globally since it started in 2010.

The amount of obstacles in the home-grown Desert Warrior Ultimate Warrior race.

The total in dollars that makes up the XDubai Spartan prize pot. That’s incentive for you.

The whopping amount in gallons of mud that need to be negotiated by during the du Tough Mudder.

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